The Dress: Roman Originals co-founder Peter Christodoulou on how viral image left company sitting pretty

'It exposed Roman, the brand, to the whole world'

Katie Grant
Friday 30 October 2015 22:19 GMT
The dress can be seen in different colours
The dress can be seen in different colours (Swiked/Tumblr)

Blue and black or white and gold? That was the question on everyone’s lips in February this year when a photograph of a dress manufactured by the British company Roman Originals went viral, sending internet users across the globe into meltdown.

“We woke up one morning and had the world and the media coming down upon us,” Roman Originals co-founder, Peter Christodoulou, told i. In one week more than 10 million tweets referencing what had become known as “The Dress” (or “#Dressgate”) had been posted.

“It exposed Roman, the brand, to the whole world,” said Mr Christodoulou, 56, from Lichfield, near Birmingham. “We were really happy. It was such a buzz for all of our staff.”

Originally Mr Christodoulou had hoped to sell around 200 of the lace-detail body-con dress per week. But it flew off the rails and, in just a week and a half, 3,000 had been snapped up.

The dress as it appears on the company's website

While the photograph of The Dress proved exceptionally divisive – even staff at Roman Originals head office were at loggerheads – in other images, the dress is clearly blue and black, and it was billed as such on the Roman Originals website.

“It was always blue and black to me,” insisted Mr Christodoulou, whose wife, Pamela, has her own Dress hanging in her wardrobe.

The company did produce a one-off white and gold version of the garment, however; it sold at auction for £1,300, with the proceeds going to Children in Need.

Eight months after Roman Originals “won the social media lottery”, as Mr Christodoulou put it, the dust has settled and the company is preparing for Christmas. “We’ve had a brilliant year so far. Mr Christodoulou said. “Hopefully our spring/summer 2016 range will be as well-received.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in